We just finished part two of a three-part webinar series, “Reaching Customers at Every Stage with Google Ads.” In this edition, experts from Red Door and Google discussed how display ads have (and have not) changed over the years, and how marketers like yourself can use them to reach your target audience. Missed the webinar? We’ve put together this recap for you:
Display Advertising: Then & Now
Display ads are some of the oldest forms of digital ads. The first-ever display ad was actually a 1994 banner ad on HotWired.com (now known as Wired.com) for AT&T. If you were to look it up, you’d see that it doesn’t meet any of today’s display ad requirements — it’s very spammy. While the display landscape has greatly evolved since the ‘90s, the way we talk about display has stayed the same:
Key Display Terms
Ad Exchange - The system where networks, publishers, and advertisers buy and sell inventory.
CPM (Cost Per Mile/Thousand) - The most standard way costs are measured; this is the cost to reach 1,000 impressions.
DMP (Data Management Platform) - A platform to gather 1st party data alongside 3rd party data to apply for an ad campaign.
DSP (Demand-Side Platform) - A system to reach multiple publishers and manage multiple bids in one interface.
IO (Insertion Order) - The contract with a vendor that defines the specific costs and placements of your ads.
SSP (Supply-Side Platform) - Similar to a DSP, but for publishers to reach advertisers through exchange/platforms.
Programmatic Display - More automated and audience-based ad buying that reduces the more direct 1-to-1 ad buying.
Traditional display ads were purchased through direct 1-to-1 relationships, IOs and contracts. While you can still purchase directly with many publishers and publisher networks, the way you buy display and who can access these inventories has changed. There are thousands of companies with access to ad spots with the same publishers and publisher networks.
This new marketplace delivers new capabilities, like targeting specific publishers or publisher types through standard display ads. Another tactic is combining highly targeted programmatic with things like contextual content clues, geo-fencing, custom intent, and more. From general awareness and remarketing to driving purchases, there is a display targeting tactic for each of your goals.
Ad Fraud & Bot Traffic
While the industry has made huge strides toward limiting ad fraud, it continues to be one of the top issues related to display advertising. A recent IAS report showed that in 2019 almost 12% of desktop display impressions worldwide were fake — meaning this kind of traffic was generated by bots .
Some of the most common types of ad fraud include:
Domain Spoofing - When a publisher pretends to be another publisher. They’re not actually selling the inventory that they say they are.
Cookie and Pixel Stuffing - When a malicious site is faking the conversions, taking attributions, or multiple pixels at the same time.
Click Injection and Click Spamming - When there’s malicious software installed, causing clicks that people don’t know about.
How to Fight Ad Fraud
Marketers are fighting bot traffic and ad fraud by using a powerful tool called ads.txt. If you go to any major publisher’s site and add /ads.txt to the URL, you can see the official list of every publisher that has permission to sell their inventory. It’s a quick, easy way to tell if your vendor can truly purchase from the publisher.
Ad verification technology has also been helpful in combating fraud. These tools help you confirm impressions, confirm if you can turn off an ad, and confirm whether or not it’s bot traffic. This allows publishers and ad networks to both exclude this traffic from their tracking and measurements, to avoid invalid or inflated costs, as well as potential impacts to performance.
This level of transparency through full publisher and site lists from your vendors is essential to avoiding bot traffic and ad fraud.
Google Discovery & Display Ads
According to Ipsos/Google, 59% of consumers have discovered their favorite brands while watching videos on mobile, catching up on interests, and reading through emails . This gives advertisers the unique chance to engage with consumers before they even commit to a search query.
So, how can you tap into consumer purchase intent without a search query? Google Discovery combines powerful machine learning and the most intent-rich signals to make your appearance as relevant and effective as possible.
With Google Discovery ads, you can reach up to 3B customers monthly on the YouTube Home and Watch Next feeds, the Gmail Promotions and Social tabs, and Discover. When you combine Google Discovery with search and responsive display ads, you can generate more leads.
How to Make Eye-Catching Ads
Reuse Your Best Creative: Reuse creative assets that have already proven successful on social channels.
Build with Your Audience in Mind: Start with an audience, define what they care about, build assets around your value proposition, then write and deploy assets.
Choose Wisely:The best-performing assets are well-lit, high-definition products and images.
Don’t Overlook Copy: Write concrete and specific copy to convince users to take the next step.
How to Implement Discovery Ads
Start with Single-Image: Once you start seeing success, move on to multi-image carousels — with a minimum of 5 cards.
Upload Both Square and Landscape Images: Discovery ads will automatically select the image option and size that leads to the best performance.
Choose a Bid Strategy & Budget: You can choose between Maximize Conversions or Target CPA, and set your budget.
Target the Right Audience: Focus on audiences that are more likely to convert, based on performance you’ve seen in your search, video, and display campaigns.
Use Audience Expansion: This allows you to easily expand your audience to lookalikes and drive incremental conversions at the same performance.
Reviewing Creative Performance
How do you take the insights from your running campaigns and put them into action? It starts with viewing your Asset Details. We recommend that you review asset-level performance every 2-3 weeks to identify the best-performing images, headlines, and logos and swap out assets that do not perform well.
You’ll also want to be sure to use the Audience Insights tool — which you can get access to on your shared library. Audience Insights delivers precise information on the demographic profile interests and audience intents that are converting with your existing campaigns.
Your customer’s online behaviors are rapidly changing. Are you using the paid media tactics to reach them? With over eighteen years of marketing experience and the latest tools at our fingertips, Red Door is here to help. Feel free to reach out.
 eMarketer. “Ad Spending Lost to Ad Fraud Worldwide, 2018, 2019 & 2023.”
 Ipsos/Google Connect. Consumer Discovery Study, U.S., December 2018
 Google internal data
 Ipsos/Google Connect. Consumer Discovery Study, U.S., December 2018